Not quite yet

January 11, 2009
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The suspense will grow for another month.

Gregory Gilmore, CEO of the Gilmore Collection, will now reveal details of a planned expansion of The Big Old Building at 20 Monroe Ave. NW at the February meeting of the Parking Commission. It was initially thought the project would be on the commission’s agenda for its January meeting, which was held last week.

Instead, parking commissioners reviewed plans for two surface lots Parking Services will build in the Monroe North Business District in conjunction with the revival of the former Imperial Metals factory at 801 Ionia Ave. NW by Irish Twins Group III. The department is buying property for the lots.

“The deadlines had to be changed and those were the only things that had to be changed,” said Parking Services Director Pam Ritsema.

Gilmore told the Business Journal last week the project’s development firm, 20 Monroe Building Co., exercised its option to buy a city-owned parking lot just north of The BOB for about $1.9 million in late December. The plan is to expand the business on the lot, which stretches east from Monroe to Ottawa Avenue.

Gilmore also said the next step to lock in the project’s details, including how the work will be financed, is a development agreement between 20 Monroe and the city. As things stand now, 20 Monroe will be required to invest a minimum of $5 million into the project, build at least 20,000 new square feet, and finish construction within three years of closing.

“Under the option agreement we have to put together a development agreement,” said Ritsema, who added that the transaction will likely close in April.

The Gilmore Collection opened The BOB, a renovated 70,000-square-foot former warehouse, in 1996 and plans to expand the building have been on the back burner since 2002.

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